Charlie Manuel finished his last official utterances of the baseball season in front of the national media late Saturday night, and he exited the news conference room by a side door and began a long, familiar trudge through the back corridors of Citizens Bank Park.
"I've said basically the same thing every night," Manuel had said in his valedictory for a team that was consistent in its inconsistencies. "The downside of our club this year . . . is that at times we didn't score enough runs."
There are a hundred strands in the web that finally ensnared the Phillies in the league championship series against the Giants, but that was the stickiest. Their offense, so potent during their ascendancy in the National League the last few seasons, finally let them down.